Murphy Rolls out His ‘Return and Earn’ Program


New Jersey’s economy is experiencing a glaring contradiction – there are “Help Wanted” signs everywhere, but many people don’t have jobs.

Republicans and other critics of the Murphy administration say unemployment benefits have been too generous – some people would rather sit home and collect than get a job.

This is not new criticism from the right, but it’s been amplified by the current situation and, naturally, the gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, those on the left should be heartened that employees have some leverage these days.

Phil Murphy clearly is not immune to what’s going on.

Today he unveiled what he called a Return and Earn program.

It aims to encourage both workers and employers.

The program would give workers a $500 bonus for returning to work.

And it would offer $10,000 in wage subsidies to businesses that hire and train new workers.

The governor said he hopes to accelerate the “back to work” process and also match employees with available jobs.

There are some rules.

Hourly pay must be at least $15 and companies must have fewer than 100 employees to be eligible.  Additionally, the total amount of subsidies a company can receive will be $40,000.

Murphy said he hopes the program appeals to individuals who are still not working, or to those interested in being trained for a better job.

Fair point, but the politics around the issue is continuing.

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, a Morris County Republican, today criticized the Murphy administration for having no plan to cope with a school bus driver shortage.

This is not unique to New Jersey, but Dunn said such other northeast states as New York and Massachusetts are trying to streamline the hiring process or have activated the National Guard to help.

Murphy said New Jersey is working to address the shortage and he took a swipe at critics who think the problem can be fixed by waving a “magic wand.”

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